shades of a trend

First it was Tom Ford. Ever ahead of the curve, he launched the only significant eyewear collection in recent fashion memory - I mean, which designer do you know channels all that attention into sunglasses?

Then Karen Walker blipped into the radar with her sell-out range of oversized, part-futuristic, part retro shades. And Karen Walker isn't the kind of designer that makes blips on the mainstream radar very often.

Now Thakoon Panichgul has caught onto the action. The designer launches a range of sunglasses this month, so I was clicked through his spring collection on again to check out some of the shades he showed in his show.

Well, they're actually quite cool, though the shapes look like something you want to try first to make sure, and I dunno, maybe it's because I'm not a shades person (I wear glasses) and maybe it's because the magazines are full of them, but they're all starting to look the same to me.
It's weird isn't it? I mean, not too long ago, sunglasses were pretty much the preserve of the biggest of fashion houses, part of a giant luxury label's brand and attempt to milk as much money as possible out of its high-end status. Yes, Chloe did make those aviators and Prada sunglasses are often as interesting as the clothes, but generall, designer sunglasses has a ring of "duty-free staple" to me.

Now, sunglasses are suddenly culty items of desire. Budding labels used to want to make accessories like bags and shoes to build their house identity - now they can do sunglasses, and exclusively sunglasses too. Is this a trend? Will more and more young designers follow suit?
It doesn't seem to be a bad idea if you make some nice ones - sunglasses are probably much cheaper to manufacture, and far more affordable to the masses than a handbag, so it'll probably sell in greater volume and generate some much-needed profits for the designer.
Thanks to this Hollywood-launched trend, maybe sunglasses are the new It bag.


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